HOW can we control China? Pragmatists might be tempted to answer: ‘We can’t.’ Isn’t it all too late, given China’s economic tentacles established throughout the world?
As the Spectator’s Ian Williams reports here, despite the government’s 11th hour decision over Huawei, ‘the Chinese telecoms giant remains deeply embedded in existing set-ups, and has rapidly expanded research collaboration in the UK, working with 35 institutes and universities, including funding advanced facilities at Cambridge, Edinburgh, Surrey and Imperial College London.’ Nor does it stop there: Britain is a popular and welcoming destination for Chinese investment, estimated to be worth more than £50billion between 2010 and last year.
Though there is a growing awareness that China’s creeping conquest must be halted, until now there’s been little scrutiny and even less action.
That may be about to change. Australia has just cancelled Victoria’s Belt and Road deal with China, to the latter’s manifest fury. Other countries are now rethinking their relationships with China’s Confucius network of ‘cultural and language centres’, including Australia and New Zealand: at least 27 universities and one school board in the USA have requested closure.
We could do the same. Iain Duncan Smith, the co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, has set the right example by calling out their grotesque human rights abuses. They don’t like that either. When they’re mad, it shows that it works.
China cannot be given a free pass, and a growing number of Western lawmakers and human rights groups are planning to take action. They are calling for a boycott of the Winter Olympics scheduled to take place in Beijing next February. As Karen Harradine suggested in these pages last week, this would be a good place to start. Do you agree?
Feel free to discuss this or anything else on your mind.